A driver whose body was found near his crashed car in rural East County hours after his family reported him missing over the weekend was identified by authorities and friends as a husband and father of two from San Diego.
Franky Martinez, 31, died some time before 6:45 a.m. Sunday when he was thrown from his car as it crashed down a steep, boulder-riddled embankment between the eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 8 near Boulevard, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office and California Highway Patrol.
Authorities believe Martinez was heading eastbound just past McCain Valley Road when he made an abrupt move for unknown reasons, lost control of the car off the left side of the freeway and crashed down the hill. He was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the car and died from a blunt-force neck injury, the Medical Examiner’s Office said.
Some time after midnight Saturday, Martinez’s family called 911 to report him missing as he had not returned home. Later that morning, a passerby noticed something in the median and stopped to take a closer look. After realizing it was an undiscovered crash scene, he flagged down a Border Patrol agent, who called 911 after finding Martinez’s body.
Martinez leaves behind a wife, Arleen, and two pre-adolescent children, according to a GoFundMe page established by his widow’s family. Franky and Arleen Martinez were high school sweethearts who started dating when they were 15 years old.
“He devoted his life to providing a good life for his wife and kids,” his widow’s family wrote on the fundraising site. “He was a hard working husband and dad and the sole provider for his family. His passing has left a scar on all of our hearts, and we will all unite in his honor to support his wife, Arleen, and to help continue giving his two children the life he wanted for them.”
The GoFundMe page had raised more than $2,600 in 21 hours as of Tuesday morning, just more than halfway to its $5,000 goal.
—City News Service
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